Injecting Poison Into Your Brain

What you embrace affects you, whether it’s good or bad. If you’re a writer, it affects what you create.

This is something I’ve talked about in my Writing Tips, something I’ve mentioned elsewhere as well—but here’s Jeff Walker, a guy who I admire for the way he treats folks while being tremendously successful, whose pay-forward ethic runs on the same track as mine—and he’s got a take on what you put into your brain and how it affects what comes out that you NEED to read.

I’m fervent about controlling what I allow into mind mind, and I get good results in my life because of this. Clearly, as you’ll read below, I’m not alone.

http://jeffwalker.com/injecting-poison-in-your-brain/

Realize that everything he’s saying about entrepreneurs is true for writers, too (who are, in fact, also entrepreneurs).

Let him know what you think. Let me know what you think, too.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

12 comments… add one
  • Medens Oct 21, 2010 @ 22:05

    Please Please Please. Can someone help me? I’ve been trying to find out about the Moon and Sun series. I am highly anxious for the third book and I haven’t heard any news from holly about what is going on. Someone please help. Thanks.

  • Eileen P. Landreth Oct 17, 2010 @ 15:37

    I so very much enjoy the threads of thoughts here; many times over, it is food for my intellectual cravings. I learn more about people here then I ever did in any phyc class. When I write, be it short story or poems, it is something I am compelled to do, a release of energy needing to expand beyond my self, outward into this plane. It is my way of leaving my mark upon the world.

  • Alice Oct 16, 2010 @ 19:17

    Thanks Holly for sending this along.

    It really is about taking good care of ourselves in all areas of life. And doing in around everyone.

    I was late in learning about that but I’ve got it now. I’m still slowish to drop people but for the most part I have changed enough they drop me first and save me the bother.

    Oh yes, sometimes it hurts but pretty soon I get the thanking that person, in my mind that is, for doing me such a great favour as to get out of my way without me having to ask them or tell them to move something; be it their attitude and or physical presence.

    That’s a long sentence but I think it got the job said.

    I’m trying to be more aware more quickly so my own misplaced kindness doesn’t get in my way either. I care less and less what people think about me. I do care that I do not hurt myself others through carelessness.

    So thanks again Holly. It’s good reminder.

  • Jennifer from Phoenix Oct 16, 2010 @ 18:40

    It’s a very interesting blog, and I feel very ambivalent about it. On first reading, I wanted to dismiss it for the sheer negativity of the whole attitude–not about the ‘news’ on TV–I never watch that any more; but about family and friends’ attitudes.
    And yet…
    When I would excitedly tell my late husband about a new writing project I had started, he would make a comical face and pretend to hold his breath. I would laugh along with him; after all, I had filled an entire spare bedroom with unfinished craft and sewing projects!
    But it hurt, deeply, that he had no faith in my writing; and it sapped my confidence.
    So Jeff is right, if with simplified motives–my husband wasn’t envious and he wasn’t trying to be mean–he was just judging performance in one area against performance in another area. And we all do that, don’t we?

    This will probably make me think again before doing the same…

  • Ien Nivens Oct 16, 2010 @ 16:38

    Ah, I love this post from Jeff! Shared it recently with a friend who’s just published for the first time and has been exposed to mindless attack from just the sort of people Jeff speaks of. It’s especially good, I think, to get a supportive message like this from someone in an adjacent field, so we don’t think that we’re getting picked on “because” we’re writers.

  • Claudette Oct 16, 2010 @ 15:42

    Whether repulsing negative influences like news and disparaging friends and family, we all come to the table as potential victims — every last human being. Age and status doesn’t come into it. We each have the potential for greatness by our own definition. How we allow the world outside ourselves to affect us is always a personal matter.

    I lived most of my life being what everyone wanted me to be and I never knew true happiness or personal satisfaction. When I began living as my heart demanded, I learned fast how much people will try to tear you down. Some of my family support my choice of being a writer. Some won’t even follow up with a question when I mention submitting an assigned article for a magazine or journal. For them it doesn’t have enough importance to acknowledge. Sure it hurts, but I note the reason behind the negativity and go on with my new life of creative expression.

    I believe that’s what Jeff was getting at. The negatives are inevitable for all sorts of reasons. It’s how we deal with them that determines their impact on our lives and our enterprises.

    Claudette

  • Cheryl Bacon Oct 16, 2010 @ 15:08

    Jeff’s post is the reason I no longer watch commercial television. If there’s a program I want to see, I watch it via the Internet, where I can control the content. And I watch very, very few programs.

    My older daughter told me that her college friends could not believe she never watched The Simpsons or Friends at home. But I didn’t like the messages those programs (and the even worse incarnations which have followed) delivered, the lifestyle choices that were made and, especially, the attitude toward adults/parents that were demonstrated. I didn’t want those thoughts in my kids’ heads.

    So I’m with Jeff 100%. Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.” And what you think about defines what you become.

    Cheryl

  • Texanne Oct 15, 2010 @ 14:53

    I have a friend who would call this “standing porter at the door of thought” though I think that also refers to monitoring thoughts that come from within ourselves, too. Like the Four Thinking Barriers.

    There are horrible images in my mind that will never go away, and quite a few of them are from the news–notably those obsessive LA car chases. It was a great thing when I discovered weather.com, so the morning news shows could disappear from my life. Another horrifying image set was the whole 9-11 drama, though I think that one is important to KEEP in mind.

    But yes, I do tend to avoid watching tragedies–particularly when there is no benefit to it. In driver’s ed we had to see horrible things, but that was for our own safety, I guess, so it had benefit.

    Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely children should be shielded from this stuff, even if we don’t take care of our own minds. I’d have turned that TV off–I’ve done it before in public places–to keep the kids from having to see the stuff that their species is capable of doing to each other.

  • Michelle Oct 15, 2010 @ 9:43

    The article made a lot of sense to me, not only the idea of avoiding and ignoring people who will tear you down, but also avoiding other things that inject poison into your brain. Focusing on all the negative things happening in the news or worse the latest celebrity break-up. It’s unfortunate that we’ve come to that in society.

    “For me, reinforcement of that message is poison because I know that lesson already,”

    Anthea, that’s great that you already know that lesson, but why does that make it poison. I assume it wasn’t poison when you first learned it. What about all the people who don’t know this, and will allow these negative people to tear them down. They don’t deserve to get the message because you already know it.

    Walker was not saying that you should assume every person you meet is going to tear you down. The point of the article is to point out that people like that exist, and that it’s best to recognize and avoid them. I stress recognize, not just assume that everyone is like that. That’s certainly not what I got from the article.

    • Anthea Oct 20, 2010 @ 12:42

      I did say “one man’s poison may be another’s medicine.” I made my post to share the other lesson, in case there are others like me who need to let go of the thought that they need to be on the defensive in all their relationships.

  • Eve Oct 14, 2010 @ 15:02

    Thank you for Jeff’s link, Holly. Bravo to people who want to make the world a better place!

  • Anthea Oct 14, 2010 @ 12:30

    The advice to control what you allow into your brain is good, but I dislike the focus on people who “will try to tear you down,” and I suppose that comes down to the fact that one man’s poison may be another’s medicine. For me, the message that people will try to tear me down is poison, so I skipped most of the latter half of the post.

    I know there are people in the world who try to tear down those who are pursuing and accomplishing goals, I’m not arguing that fact. But *expecting* that sort of behavior has in the past warped my relationships and interactions with the people who love me most, and who are supportive rather than destructive.

    For me, reinforcement of that message is poison because I know that lesson already, and need to focus on the opposite lesson now: that there are people who will love and respect you and support you through both failures and successes.

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